The Knicks didn’t come close to winning this past Thursday in San Antonio, but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich did notice one thing: Phil Jackson drafted a good one at point guard. Sixteen years after Tony Parker became the NBA’s first French point guard, Frank Ntilikina is doing his native country proud in weaving a commendable rookie year as the No. 8 pick in the draft. Ntilikina played his season-high minutes (31:43) in San Antonio and notched a season-high 11 assists. He also slowed down Parker with his reputed on-ball pressure after the French legend got off to a fast start. “I think he looked solid,’’ Popovich said before the Spurs-Knicks rematch Tuesday at the Garden. “I thought he looked confident. He didn’t look fearful. He wasn’t overly impressed being in the NBA. He played. He seemed like a pretty comfortable guy on the court. I’m sure the Knicks did their homework on his insides.’’ Ntilikina was genuinely moved to hear Popovich’s compliment. “I’m thankful for it, from a coach like that,’’ Ntilikina said. “It’s hard to impress him. I’m really thankful. It’s motivating to me to work harder on my game and become more comfortable on the court.’’ As starting point guard Jarrett Jack has slumped, Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said during their three-game trip he was looking to increase the workload for Ntilikina, though wasn’t ready to start him.
Frank Ntilikina moved by praise from his idol’s head coach
New York Post | Jan 3